“Our First Date” takes over Simpkins Theatre

Tea Wheat, Courier Staff

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This past weekend, the Western Illinois University Department of Theatre and Dance put on a stunning performance of “First Date.”

This Broadway musical comedy was originally written by Austin Winsberg, with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. The adaptation here at Western Illinois University was performed on Friday and Saturday in Simpkins Theatre. The performance drew a sold out crowd on Saturday night.

“First Date” is a musical comedy about, as the advertisements for the production listed, “One date. Two people. And every single voice in their heads.” This performance was that and so, so much more. The play followed two characters, Aaron and Casey, as they meet each other for the first time at a bar and restaurant. It soon becomes known to the audience that this is not your average first date, or even a Tinder meet up, but rather the two protagonists have been set up on a blind date.

Aaron works with Casey’s brother-in-law, and thinks that the two may just be perfect for each other. Though, as the date starts out, this does not seem to be the case at all. Aaron is nervous, very nervous. And Casey seems much more relaxed. It is soon revealed that this is Aaron’s first blind date and that Casey has been on many blind dates before, but none ever seem to turn into something real. Would this date be different?

While Casey and Aaron are both very different people, throughout the production we see them letting each other in on many levels. Religion, past relationships and even death are discussed between these two while on their first date. Right when the audience thinks things are going well, Casey banishes Aaron to “the friend zone” because he is not a bad boy like all of the men she has once been with before. Though, before the night is over, she finds herself regretting making that move so early on in the night, as she starts to wonder if she is really “into him.” After walking Casey home and saying goodbye, Aaron and Casey both realize how they truly feel, turn around and share their first kiss.

The audience was heavily invested in each and every one of the characters on the stage. From cheering through the victories to falling silent during the hard times and laughing through the times that were humorous, they were all in it together, there, witnessing that first date. This performance would not have been what it was without the cast. There were many talented individuals on the stage, musicians, singers, actors. Many actors and actresses played multiple parts with ease and had me convinced one moment they were someone, and the next someone else.

It was the mastery of their craft that made this show so successful, and so real for the entire audience.

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